Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

General discussion about learning languages
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby ilmari » Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:37 am

You can learn anything at any age. What you may lose on one side because of the natural ageing process will be compensated by the benefits of age and experience. So don't think too much about it, and just go for it!
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby Finny » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:51 am

One of my favorite sayings came from a friend I grew apart from in school. We were walking somewhere talking about something and the topic drifted to how tedious the politics of education were. She concluded her thoughts by noting that someday she would be 30, so she might as well be 30 with a PhD. I haven't seen her in years and likely never will again, but I've drawn inspiration from that conversation many times.

Back then, I was in my 20s and monolingual. Now I'm in my 30s, married, and raising our 4 kids in Spanish and French (my wife handles the English).

Time is passing whether we use it or not. If you have a goal, go after it! Or don't, but the time will pass anyway.
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby Querneus » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 am

I just wanna know when Iversen's post is coming.

Is he writing a masterpiece of a post to reply to this thread?
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:28 pm

Tom Busch wrote:(...)is it really too late for the average person to start in their 50's?

The best time was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Whatever your age is.

Jokes aside, even if you started a while ago and don't think you've progressed as much as you hoped, that's still effort. In another couple of years you'll be happy that you started at this age.
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby IronMike » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:49 am

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You're not a C1 (or B1 or whatever) if you haven't tested.

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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby Flickserve » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:23 pm

Tom Busch wrote: I was under the impression that age would make it harder but not impossible to learn a language, but at various times since then, I've read comments that have been discouraging. I've made some progress, but I thought I'd be much further along at this point. I feel like if I keeping going for a few more years, I will get it eventually, but there's no way to know for sure. I know there are exceptions where older people were able to learn a language, but general speaking is it really too late for the average person to start in their 50's?

My experience is that it is partly harder because our expectations are higher. Also we don't put enough time in because of our other life distractions. I was going around in circles until I realised I needed to listen to more material and listen carefully. It's still not great but I have to put in more time. We also need to discover which learning methods and materials we like.
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby lemme_try » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:45 pm

The best time to star learning a language is when you are young. The second best time is now. I think I got from somewhere here. lol.

Anyways, if you really want to do something you might as well do it sooner than later. We do get one life after all, if it is not now, then when?! And learning a language is suppose to be good for keeping your brain young and active.

I think just like within anything else, consistency is the key. Find a method that works for you, and stick to it. Find supplementary materials, and practice the drills. Slowly but steadily keep increasing the difficulty. And before long, you will notice how much journey you have covered, and something that seemed difficult will seem easy.

Good luck!
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby risbolle » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:43 pm

I've never been quite able to relate to the common wisdom of starting at a young age (not to discount anyone's feedback though).

I flailed miserably with my language studies in my teens and twenties, and not for lack of trying. Now in my mid 40's, I'm more attuned than ever before. Which is possibly something to do with intrinsic motivation, or perhaps I'm just slow.
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby AndyMeg » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:07 am

As long as you are alive you can make progress. You can learn, you can experiment, you can enjoy, you can change.

Only death is too late.

I really like this saying: "La perseverancia vence lo que la dicha no alcanza". It means that if you persevere you can achieve things even if they were not easy from the start.

Go for it! ;)
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Re: Is 52 too old to start learning languages?

Postby kundalini » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:44 am

I came across the following link on this forum, which tells the story of a man who had very modest exposure to Italian in his youth then began studying it earnest in his 50s, ultimately passing a C2 exam in the language:

He heavily used flash cards, which will perhaps help you as well.
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